Tips for starting your own business

ended 24. March 2021

The Sun is looking for a variety of basic tips you need to know before starting your own business — they're after comments from accountants, business coaches, tech companies, lawyers, marketers and pretty much anyone else who has wise words to impart. Deadline is tight.

7 responses from the Newspage community

George Taylor (Founder And CEO of Gramersi.com + GramersiTV - the retail startup community) is available for comment.

George previously Founded Creative Industry Hub – the media and event company for the music, fashion and influencer sectors that had thousands of customers, millions of readers, and worked with the likes of WGSN, House of Fraser, Esmee Denters, Sony Music, Sophie Shohet, and more.

Gramersi works with hundreds of retail startups, including the likes of War Paint For Men (as seen on Dragon's Den), Jecca Blac, Wear My Freedom, smol, Iasha Masood (Insu Beauty) (as seen on BBC's The Apprentice), OLIO, Posey Yoga, Tropic (as seen on BBC's The Apprentice) , M+LK PLUS (as seen on BBC's The Apprentice), Barenaked (as seen on Dragon's Den), Dr Tara Lalvani (Beautifect), COVEX, and more. 

They have also partnered up with the UK's leading retail startup investment firm, True.

GramersiTV features business advice from the likes of Levi Roots, Tim Campbell MBE, Andrew Bloch (Lord Sugar's publicist and Co-Founder of Frank).

George has started five startups in total, some of which failed, and others which boomed, and he boasts an impressive business background and knowledge of startups - and how to succeed in business, and can be contacted at info@gramersi.com.

I set up www.littleboxofbooks.co.uk, selling inclusive and representative books for kids in 2018. I'd say to new business owners, 1. Keep it as simple as possible. Start with a minimum number of products and services and get good at selling those. Don't offer too many options. 

2. Get your money systems in place as soon as you start - basic book keeping because that runs away with you pretty quickly 

3. Get your website working seamlessly with the best experience clearest messaging you can manage. You don't need an expensive developer to start- use off the peg apps and programmes so you can manage it yourself. If you create it yourself you can fix it yourself.

GOOD LUCK it's a rewarding rollercoaster of a ride.,

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Know what you want and what you want to get into. Weigh the pros and cons, if the pros outweigh the cons and you're happy, then go for it! Give it at least 1,000 days before any reevaluation or change of direction.

Love what you’re doing and don’t give up. Running a business is no mean feat. There are lots of ups and downs, twists and turns and an incredible amount of learning to do. It’s even more challenging when you’re balancing work life and bringing up a family. Having led a full-on corporate life for over 12 years, running a business was very new to me but I am very passionate about it all. I enjoy the adrenaline it gives me when I see our educational products making a significant difference in children’s development and all the contributions we can make to our charity partner, Room To Read, for their mission to create a world free of illiteracy and gender inequality.  

Make lists, set time slots for dedicated activities and find the balance between the fun and the not-so-fun business tasks. Celebrate big and small wins and try and end your day with some relaxing music or a hobby. Life moves at a fast pace so take the time to be in the moment to appreciate the things and people you love and look after your health. 

Surround yourself with like-minded people and most importantly, write your thoughts down so you can tick things off the list.

Celebrating both small and big successes is not only important but really vital to keep your sanity and motivation levels up!  

Never lose focus!

When starting a business I didn't realise how much I would be relying upon other people (contractors, staff or even other companies) to do their job well. To create a successful business you need the right team of people around you, and the ability to effectively manage their skill set and needs in order for an effective and fruitful work environment to be possible. Crack this and you’ll be well on your way to being a lasting success that has the capacity to grow and thrive!

It's normal for new businesses to take time to make a profit. You can make this period less stressful by factoring in start-up costs
and running costs.  

Start-up costs are the one-off expenses that often include premises, materials and equipment, licencing and registration fees, professional services fees, logo design and website development. 

Running costs can include recruitment costs, including agency fees and wages, along with rent or lease, utilities, mobile phone and landline bills, internet access, buying stock, insurance, shipping and delivery charges.

Your list of costs will depend on the nature of your business. If you're unsure of what they are, talk to others who have started a
similar business and do further research. Following this process will give you an idea of how much it will actually cost to start your dream business.  

It is essential to have good foundations in anything we do, setting up a business is no different. Key factors to consider when starting your own business are:

  • Decide on your business entity - do you want to be a partnership, a limited company or perhaps even a Limited Liability Partnership? It is important to get the structure correct as early as possible and choosing the right option for you and your business will provide flexibility going forwards.
  • Buy your domain name - More and more customers expect an online presence even if the product or service they are purchasing is not sold online. Once you know what you want your business to be called, purchase your domain name. Even if you don't expect to have a website just yet the typically low cost of buying your domain name can be extremely valuable later on. Being able to send emails from your company domain name, as opposed to a web based account (gmail, hotmail etc.) also gives a good impression.
  • Terms and Conditions - yes it might sound boring but having a well drafted set of terms and conditions can save you hours of heartache in the event of a dispute. Terms and Conditions can also help set the parameters for your customers for things such as serivce delivery and, more importantly, payment terms. It is much better to have an agreed contract in place than relying upon a Court to decide what the terms of the agreement were.
  • Employment Contracts - if contracts are needed, use a qualified professional to draft your employment contracts - getting contracts drafted correctly at the outset provides you with a template to work with as your business grows, and the legal fees are often not as much as people expect.
  • Financial Forecasts - there are some great tools online for helping you set a budget and provide financial projections. When preparing a budget, be realistic and (if anything) sligthly pessimistic - For example, it often takes longer than you hope to collect in debts but you will likely still have expenses to pay on time such as rent, wages, suppliers, business loans and taxes.
  • Consider signing up to the 'Prompt Payment Code' and work with other businesses who have also signed up.
  • Insurance - ensure you have adequate insurance in place to cover you, and the business, if needed.
  • Time - take the time to meet with professional advisers, who have perhaps been recommended by others, and build a relationship from day one. As your business grows, it will be hugely beneficial to have the support of a good law firm, accountant or business coach to be able to rely on. 

Processes! My business transformed after I implemented proper processes for marketing, onboarding new clients, invoicing, reporting and outsourcing. It's much more difficult to make it up as you go along, and much more likely to go wrong!